New health and safety regulations will come into effect next year in Queensland to help protect mine workers from potentially dangerous methane gas levels.
The reforms, which come into force from 6 January, will place tighter controls on methane gas monitoring in Queensland’s underground coal mines.
Minister for Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the prevention and early detection of methane related risks were vital to protect workers in Queensland’s nine operating underground coal mines.
“The health and safety of our mine workers is paramount to the Palaszczuk Government,” Dr Lynham said.
“These reforms will put methane controls as yet another health and safety reform protecting our underground coal mine workers.”
The new regulations will require coal mine operators to place additional methane monitors in the longwall tailgate return airway and ensure boundaries of explosion risk zones are clearly signposted.
If methane levels reach an unacceptable level, workers must be withdrawn from the mine, or part of the mine, and the regulator must be notified.
Dr Lynham said the reforms had come after extensive consultation with key stakeholders including unions, the Queensland Resources Council, site senior executives and, most importantly, workers on the coal face.
“The resources regulator will continue to work with underground coal mines to ensure these new measures are implemented as soon as possible,” he said.
“Our reforms have revolutionised the protection, detection and safety net for all current and former mine workers.”
“We will remain vigilant in ensuring our reforms continue to have an effect because all Queenslanders, especially our mine workers, deserve a safe workplace,” he commented.
This reform follows other safety and health measures introduced by the Queensland Government including:
- $35 million commitment to deliver reforms to improve the safety and health of mine workers.
- A commitment to tighter controls on mine dust levels.
- $1.21 million in funding for a Mobile Health Screening Van to improve black lung and silicosis screening.
- Introducing the Resources Safety and Health Queensland Bill 2019.
- A worksite safety reset sessions of mine and quarry workers and employers statewide.